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Earth Observation for Maritime Navigation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EONav (Earth Observation for Maritime Navigation)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2019-04-30

Today’s shipping companies are facing great challenges in their aspiring attempt to increase energy efficiency and decrease the emissions of harmful pollutants, as to remain market profitable and fulfil regulatory requirements. A ship can consume up to 380 tons of fuel per day, costing over 200,000 USD/day at 2014’s average fuel price of USD 657/ton. According to the UN's IPCC, annual emissions from the world's merchant fleet have reached 1.12bn tones of CO2, or nearly 4.5% of global CO2 emissions. In addition, discharge of detrimental pollutants such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and fine particulate matter (PM) are inevitable concomitants of shipping activities, leading to worldwide consequence of premature deaths due to cancer and respiratory diseases, with impacts exceedingly concentrated in coastal regions and along major trade routes.

Government agencies from different continents are investing monumental efforts and financial resources to nurture and catalyse ‘green shipping concepts’ for promoting energy efficiency and environment amiable shipping. The technology developed in EONav enhances these efforts and delivers a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and emissions (results validated). These clear and demonstrable economic and environmental advantages are outstandingly conducive to the consumers and the general international society, who now can enjoy more reliable supply of energy and consumer goods at reduced costs on account of more eco-friendly shipping.

Appreciations to the esteemed EONav project, which resulted in a sustainable sail planning system that, by incorporating self-learning ship performance and optimization models, can endow an advanced decision support system. It allows end-users to optimize their ships’ sailing routes and time schedule as to obtain the lowest possible fuel consumption and air emissions, accurate estimation of Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), safe voyage along with additional benefits. We worked on to facilitate continuous and inexhaustible supply of data feeds from Copernicus and other EO missions, furthermore upgraded and integrated ship performance and voyage optimization models for fuel and emissions. We recognized constructive feedback and growing interest in the results of our work from different segments within the maritime industry. We were able to successfully demonstrate the system and have it operational on several vessels. Validations conducted in real environment justified the system’s potential for rendering energy conserving and low-risk shipping. In order to maximize the value of the innovations we have patented this ambitious system.

In association with the end-users in the project consortium we have managed to build and deploy an automatic route planning system on multiple vessels. The service supports the following value adding functions: a) route planning based on course, b) route planning based on speed and c) a combination of both. The system can be operated from any laptop or integrated with displays of the main providers of sail planning systems. There is a clear separation of functionality (weather model, optimisation), it means that different customers can use the functions separately. Our fuel consumption model and optimization tools present quality results.
blance with the real ships and our optimization tool shows promising results.
Accomplishments from previous R&D projects equipped us with vital insights and experience that paved the way to redesign the system to be more light weight and modular. We introduced a web application for the work on board and a web API for machine-to-machine interfaces to systems onboard or on shore, relying on the trend of increased internet coverage and bandwidth at sea in the future. During the later phase of the project we focused on the core of the system; ship performance model, the data selection algorithm, the optimization algorithms and assessment of each model. Evaluations on model accuracy performed in close collaboration with industrial partners indicated that numerical results from system exhibited impressive agreements with real ship measurements. Exercising the production system and the technical team to ensure a high service level to external end users have also been an integral part of the system.
To enable the system’s accessibility to most relevant and precise metocean data, numerous high standard data feeds were merged to the already available data secured from predecessor projects. These data feeds encompass a multitude of new products from the Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service (CMEMS), forecast models from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) and ocean surface currents from HF radar stations and others. Capability to ingest radar images from the satellites Sentinel 1A and 1B was also built.
The project turned out to be remarkably productive to the general international society as efficient ship operation aid in provision of reliable energy supply (and moderate energy prices) for Europe (for energy production and transport vessels). It augments optimization of cargo, passenger transport and the environmental impact of seaborne transport (e.g. by improving sail planning and thereby reduce environmental pollutions), and so forth. Evidently, this initiative made European products more competitive in the global shipping market and encouraged cleaner transport solutions with less fuel consumption and reduced environmental footprint of (European) shipping transport. The latter has a positive effect on the quality of life for seafarers and the people living in the coastal zones.
Moreover, the project opened multiple avenues for framing/improving standards and policies within the e-navigation strategy (i.e. IMO’s committee on Safety of Navigation). E-navigation is considered as a strategic framework for developing existing and future technological infrastructure onboard. This project is in full compliance with this strategy. It addresses almost all aspects of the future e-navigation strategy creating a valuable opportunity to uplift the e-navigation growth and ensure that the focus of future developments is on a holistic approach to safe navigation from berth to berth (cf. IMO definition). It is therefore crucial to cooperate within this strategic development and particularly elevate the system as a foregoing service with e-Navigation capabilities.
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